decision to release mr. mandela unconditionally. >> reporter: mandela emerged from behind bars without bitterness, to resume his campaign. >> africa. >> melson mandela sacrificed his personal freedom for our personal freedoms. >> reporter: his work was recognized with a nobel peace prize. as south africa's first black president, mandela remained a humble man. taking delight in a new york tickertape parade. dancing at a concert in his honor. meeting with world leaders and his civil rights hero. >> so help me god. >> reporter: as promised, he stepped down as president of south africa after serving just one term. >> south africa has been a despotic state through almost the whole of the 20th century. mandela's legacy stands against it. that is one of the best and most optimistic qualities that he hands to the people of south africa. >> reporter: by all accounts, the measure of this man can be taken by what he wants to be remembered for. here lies nelson mandela said, a man whos has done his duty on earth. >> keith miller reporting. joining us the council on foreign relations richard haas.